Douglas County Health Director Recommends Masks in Schools Again

Aug. 4, 2021, 3:30 p.m. ·

Douglas County Health Director Lindsay Huse at a podium
Douglas County Health Director Lindsay Huse at Tuesday's Commissioners meeting. (Photo from live stream)

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Douglas County’s new health director says she’s recommending local school districts require masks for the upcoming semester as COVID cases continue to rise in Nebraska.

Lindsay Huse says much like the rest of the country, case rates in Douglas County are going up, now at about 90 new COVID cases a day. She told Douglas County Commissioners this week the most concerning part of the data is a sharp increase in cases in residents 19 years old and younger. Those numbers have tripled over the past few weeks, with the highest concentration in kids between five and nine years old who can’t be vaccinated yet.

“As you can imagine, that creates some concern when we are about to put kids back into a congregant setting,” Huse said. “Something that I just want to make sure everyone is fully aware of, especially in light of recommendations that came out last week.”

Although mask mandates in schools are up to each individual district, Huse said she strongly recommends districts require masks for students this semester. And she said it’s something that needs to be addressed quickly.

“This is not the sort of situation where waiting to see what happens is necessarily a great idea if we want to keep kids in school and learning and keep parents at work and keep society moving in the way we have wanted to keep it going in this pandemic,” Huse said.

Under the CDC’s new mask guidelines, Douglas County falls into the “High Risk” category for COVID transmission. So far, 53% of all Douglas County residents have been fully vaccinated and 71% of people over the age of 18 have had at least one shot.